We live in an era where technology is taking over every existing industry. From the academic industry via online classes to the health sector via health monitoring apps. However, the sector that has most probably gained the most infiltration by technology is the manufacturing industry. In the 21st century, almost every production process must utilize technology to get the manufacturing procedure right. That is where ICS (industrial control systems) come into the picture.
Many distinct types of Industrial control systems have been deployed in many different sectors. Using some Industrial control system along with related processes and equipment is necessary for practically all essential infrastructure, industrial production areas, power management, transportation, and water treatment. However, even though these ICS applications are very useful in production, they must run on a complex PCB to function appropriately and increase efficiency and productivity. Moreover, using them in a production process is a pretty complex task. However, are there manufacturers who have mastered the skill of using ICS in the production process of their products?
Industrial control Systems in a Nutshell
The term Industrial control system (ICS) refers to various CS (control systems) plus related instruments, including equipment, control, systems, and networks needed to automate and operate industrial processes. Every ICS works differently and is designed to effectively handle duties electronically depending on a couple of factors, such as the industry in which you are using it. However, today almost all industrial sectors use the equipment and procedures in an industrial control system.
Industrial control is the automation of manufacturing, mining, and power systems to increase production rates, improve product quality and reliability, or optimizing resource use.
Industrial control systems are the backbone of many industries. They are useful in all industry sectors, from manufacturing to power generation and distribution. Industrial automation is a subset of industrial control that mainly involves automating industrial processes such as material handling (e.g., palletizing), assembly lines, machining operations and packaging.
Digital process automation (DPA) is an emerging technology that promises to automate more complicated tasks in industry by using software agents that can monitor and adjust processes based on changing conditions.
There are a couple of ICS kinds. However, the Distributed Control system, supervisory control, and data acquisition are the most popular in the market. In addition, field Devices, which take supervision orders from distant stations, frequently manage local activities.
Supervisory control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)
A system like SCADA cannot offer total control. However, it concentrates on providing supervisory-level control by utilizing its capabilities. Moreover, supervisory control and data acquisition systems have components dispersed over several places, most often PLC (programmable logic controllers) and other commercial modules. An HMI (human interface machine) connected with a SCADA system allows for centralized control and monitoring of various process outputs and inputs as well as the acquisition and transmission of data.
SCADA is used chiefly for remote management and monitoring of field sites via a centralized control system. SCADA systems can automate this process efficiently so that employees are not required to travel significant distances to complete tasks or collect data. The closing and opening of breakers and valves, environmental monitoring, and data collection from a sensor system are all controlled locally by field devices.
Supervisory control and data acquisition systems are primarily good in industries that involve electrical power distribution and transmission, water treatment and distribution centers, and pipeline control and monitoring.
Distributed Control Systems
DCS is a system that technicians utilize to manage manufacturing equipment kept in one place. In a distributed control system, communication to set points is via the system’s controller, which can then tell actuators or even valves to function in a specific way that will maintain the intended set point. Moreover, data collected in the field can be utilized for straightforward process control, archived for future utilization, or even combined with information from other parts of the system’s plant to create sophisticated control plans.
Every DCS controls several devices or controllers that are components of the whole manufacturing process using a looped supervisory control that is centralized. By using this technology, industries now have instant access to information on operations and manufacturing. Moreover, a DCS can lessen the effect of “single faults” on the entire system by utilizing multiple devices during manufacturing.
DCS systems have multiple applications in sectors such as:
- Wastewater treatment
- Oil and water refineries
- Chemical manufacturing
- Electrical power generation
Actual ICS Implementation
ICS environments implementation mainly uses a combination of SCADA and DCS that incorporates features from these two systems.
Vital Components of an ICS Environment
The software and hardware systems that efficiently monitor and manage actual physical gadgets in the field tend to be operational technology or OT variables. Moreover, every industry has different OT duties. OT devices include, for instance, equipment that measures temp in industrial settings.
Remote Terminal Unit
A remote terminal is an efficient field gadget that bears a microprocessor. The microprocessor receives instructions and relays data to the MTU.
Hardware components like actuators and PLCs are a part of every CL (Control Loop). The CL interprets signals from motors, switches, breakers, control valves, sensors, and other devices like these. Moreover, the controller will use the variables that these sensors have measured to handle jobs or finish processes efficiently.
A GUI (graphical user interface) program enables the communication between the human operator and controller hardware. Additionally, it may provide previous data acquired via the gadgets in the industrial control system environment and status information. Moreover, technicians use it to construct and modify parameters in the configured set point, control algorithm, and controllers.
Remote Maintenance and Diagnostics
Remote maintenance and diagnostics refer to recognizing, stopping, and recovering from unusual operations and failures.
Lower-level (LL) control gadgets receive communication with control servers which also host the PLC or DCS supervisory control programs.
Master Terminal unit or SCADA
The SCADA gadget also sends instructions to out-of-band RTUs.
Intelligent Electronic Devices
An IED is an intelligent gadget that can gather data, exchange messages with other smart gadgets, and carry out local control and processing. Auto local level (LL) controls are made possible by employing intelligent electronic devices in control systems such as DCS and SCADA.
Data historians are centralized databases that record all process information in an Industrial control system environment before exporting this information to the company’s information system (IS). The knowledge acquired is subsequently put to use for EL (enterprise-level) planning, process analysis, and statistical process control.
What exactly is an Industrial Control System?
SCADA systems undertake several functions which permit proper remote facilities management. Here are the main functions of SCADA systems.
Technicians use analog to digital conversions in the collecting of SCADA information. Moreover, technicians utilize varying degrees Celsius to express temperature when dealing with SCADA systems.
A SCADA system converts the transmit signal intensity to dBm. Moreover, errored seconds serve as a type of measure of channel quality.
Network Data Communication
The gathered data moves to a master consolidator on its initiative or as a response to data requests.
Analog (T202, POTS) or digital (RS485, TC/IP) communication channels are possible in network data communication. Moreover, in addition to any content certification, the architecture of SCADA networks often includes some form of transit validation.
There is need to organize and process collected data and then present for the system operator to make the correct control decision and response. Moreover, the presentation might vary from a simple tabular presentation encompassing logged events to a complex graphical presentation.
If the systems support outputs and the control decision is warranted, technicians can dispatch appropriate commands to specific configurations or operational changes. Most control actions tend to be undertaken by PLCs and RTUs.
Communication within Industrial Control Systems
Control modules and devices use communication protocols in industrial control systems to communicate information. Moreover, various industrial control systems settings employ a variety of communication methods. Most of these system protocols were created for particular uses, including the automation of processes, power systems and structures, and many other things. Moreover, the development of these efficient protocols guarantees compatibility across various manufacturers. Specific protocols, however, can only be used with equipment made by the same industrial manufacturer. The most utilized Industrial control systems protocols include:
Ethernet for Control Automaton Technology (EtherCAT)
An open-source, free-to-use communication protocol that uses Ethernet technology in industrial settings. EtherCAT helps in the application that involves automation with a jitter of one second and short update cycles (around 100 seconds).
Common Industrial Protocols (CIP)
Services and messages for configuration, synchronization, security, control, and other purposes make up a CIP. Moreover, you can combine the internet and Ethernet network with the ICP for better functionality. Numerous CIP modifications offer intercommunication and integration for various network types.
Building Control and Automation Networks
Fire detection, building access, lighting, air conditioning, ventilation, and heating are all controlled by this protocol.
Open Platform communication (OPC)
For industrial communication, there are several specifications and standards known as OPC. Microsoft created these technologies long ago to cater to windows OS (operating system). They are the foundation of the Open Platform communication standard (DCOM, COM, and OLE).
The Modbus system protocol is one of the first industrial control system protocols introduced to the industry in 1979. Modbus is the standard communication protocol in most, if not all, ICS settings, and it employs serial connections with PLCs. The serial Modbus that transmits data using the HDLC (high-level data link control) standard and the Modbus-TCP that transmits data using the TCP/IP system protocol are the two different types of Modbus protocol implementation.
Distributed Network Protocol
The DNP protocol operates across three layers – the transport, application, and connection. As a result, the DNP approach is frequently applicable in water and water-waste treatment facilities.
Process Field Bus
During field operations, PROFIBUS employs RTU to RTU, MTU to MTU, and RTU to MTU communications. Moreover, there are only two options:
- The Profibus PA, which is short for Process Automation) – it efficiently monitors the measuring equipment through the process control (PC) system.
- Profibus DP, which is short for decentralized peripherals – Controls actuators and control sensors through central controllers.
Most common Threats to ICS
Every ICS continuously integrates new applications and tech in OT and IT to enhance system functionality and productivity. However, because OT and IT are now part of ICS, fraudsters may attack them more easily. One of their prevalent weaknesses is the lack of security solutions utilized in the OT infrastructure to secure legacy control (LC) systems like SCADA. Additionally, businesses must deal with the growing security issues in cutting-edge technologies like cloud computing, IoT, and big data analytics. Moreover, Centralization exposes previously undiscovered weaknesses in the cyber ecosystem.
Most attacks against industrial control systems are frequently focused attacks that leverage the entry point provided by the industrial control system to obtain access to the system and migrate inside the company. The Stuxnet virus, which hackers used to control centrifuges within Iranian nuclear facilities, plus the BlackEnergy, which harmed Ukrainian power generating facilities, are just two examples of how infiltration occurs to ICS systems. Even though most assaults concentrate on industrial espionage and data theft, the two examples above show how malware might have a kinetic impact.
The mining sector has become an excellent target for hackers looking for cyber espionage activities. These cyber espionage operations aim to gather the most recent technological intelligence and information to support particular interest groups’ growth and competitive advantage.
Examples of how ICS Works in the PCB Industry
PCBs in a Nutshell
Printed Circuit Boards are sheets of insulating material, for example, fiberglass, with tracks or metallic circuits etched or printed on it to generate electrical conductivity. Printed Circuit Boards are in almost every electronic gadget you come across, ranging from keyboards to laptops, computers, TVs, Tablets, mobile phones, and more. ICS apply in the production of PCBs due to the need for accuracy and precision.
Printed Circuit Board Assembly
Printed Circuit Boards have one main objective, to transmit electrical current to various components on the circuit board. However, for this to happen, components must be mounted on the board through a process known as PCB assembly. During this process, technicians utilize SMT (surface mount technology), which requires the utilization of ICS to get right.
After soldering every electrical component, the board can function accordingly.
Materials that make up a Printed Circuit Board
You can manufacture the base or core of a printed circuit board using different materials. The only catch when it comes to choosing the base components is that the element should be:
- Heat resistant
These requirements show up because printed circuit boards are utilized primarily on harsh environments and must endure high heat levels.
The most common materials that technicians utilize to manufacture printed circuit boards include:
- Resin coated copper
- Non-woven glass plus epoxy
- Cotton paper, epoxy, and phenolic cotton paper
Types of Printed Circuit Boards
Printed circuit boards come in many variations according to how the manufacturer produces them. These variations include:
- Rigid-flex printed circuit boards or rigid, flexible printed circuit boards
- Flexible or flex-printed circuit boards
- Rigid printed circuit boards
- Multi-layer printed circuit boards
- Double-layer or double-sided printed circuit boards
- Single-layer or single-sided printed circuit boards
Printed Circuit Boards Manufacturers
Many different printed circuit board manufacturers exist across the globe. Most of them reside in China and the USA. However, only some PCB manufacturers have the technology and the capability to handle ICS PCB production. However, companies like Rayming have the ability and technology to efficiently utilize ICS to generate PCBs.
Rayming is a china based Printed Circuit Board assembly company that utilizes ICS to offers complete circuit board assembly services. Moreover, regarding PCB production, Rayming is one of the world-leading printed circuit board assembly and manufacturing companies. The company came into the limelight in 2005 and has been operational since then, providing quality products every time. Through these years, Rayming has mastered the skill of using Industrial control to produce Printed Circuit Boards more efficiently.
Services offered in Rayming
Rayming specializes in offering the following services to companies worldwide:
- High-quality printed circuit board fabrication
- Printed circuit board assembly
- Component sourcing services
Moreover, Rayming also offers services in high-end PCBs, for example, flex-rigid printed circuit boards, aluminum printed circuit boards, HDI boards, high-frequency circuit boards, Teflon PCBs, and Roger’s PCBs. Using tech and ICS, Rayming can produce quality circuit boards each time.
Moreover, Rayming offers partial turnkey and complete turnkey PCB assembly services to produce all circuit boards. For complete turnkey PCB assembly, Rayming handles the entire manufacturing process of the PCB, which includes:
- Manufacturing the PCB
- Procuring production components
- Testing the PCB
- Continuously monitoring the PCB to check on the quality of the circuit board.
- Final assembly
Moreover, Rayming has been in the industry for over 15 years. Therefore their procuring abilities are top-notch. Furthermore, they only purchase original components; therefore, you can be sure that your PCB will be high quality. And since quality is a significant aspect to consider when dealing with PCBs, they deliver the best circuit board you can find in the market.
PCB Assembly Process followed by Rayming to generate the best PCBs via ICS
For printed circuit board production Rayming utilizes both manual and automated techniques. Moreover, while using THT component placements, Rayming places the components manually on the board. However, while employing SMT, technicians effectively use pick-and-place gadgets to locate and place components on a Printed Circuit Board.
As per soldering, the Rayming team utilizes wave-soldering to undertake THT PCB assembly. However, when undertaking Surface Mount PCB placements, technicians use reflow soldering, which requires the utilization of ICS.
When carrying out THT PCB assembly, technicians manually place components on a circuit board. They then use wave soldering to solder the components on the PCB effectively. However, when it comes to SMT PCB assembly, technicians apply the solder paste using a solder stencil on the circuit board. After this happens, technicians place the parts on pads and then pass the board in a unique reflow oven, which melts down the solder. Additionally, PCBs with hybrid technology is wave soldered and reflowed.
Cleaning the Printed Circuit Board
After the soldering process is complete, the Rayming staff utilizes gadgets to clean the PCB and eliminate any contaminants. Technicians in Rayming thoroughly clean the constructed circuit board using the most recent method to eliminate any flux residue. Additionally multiple methods – which often combine cleaning chemicals, agitation, and heat- are employed to remove flux. After that, a thorough inspection of the PCB is performed to verify the precise component arrangement via ICS gadgets.
At Rayming, specialists utilize high-tech inspection tools to check the quality of the Printed Circuit Board. Some techniques used by technicians to carry out PCB inspection include:
After thorough PCB quality testing, technicians deliver the Printed Circuit Board to the customer.
Rayming delivers Printed Circuit Boards assembled via their corporation to any country via courier. Therefore you do not have to worry about order shipment. Moreover, Rayming ensures the circuit board shipment is successfully delivered at any location within an acceptable TT (turnaround time).
Benefits of working with ICS
Increased Safety and Health
Manufacturers who work with ICS enjoy one primary benefit, increased safety and health for their employees. That is because while utilizing ICS, manufacturers understand various environments before they dispatch workers to that location. Doing so helps keep the workers safe while carrying out multiple tasks.
Minimization of Harmful Exposure
The next benefit manufacturers enjoy while working with ICS is the ability to efficiently minimize and control exposure or threats created by faults or failures.
Whenever a power line fails, a SCADA or ICS system detects the failure and then alerts technicians earlier, before they arrive at the location. Doing so helps save employees from exposure that could harm them.
Through using ICS, manufacturers can easily protect their assets via the prevention technique. For example, whenever an ICS detects a fault, it alerts technicians, and then they can secure the assets around that fault before the situation escalates.
Industrial Control systems are, without a doubt, crucial to the manufacturing industry. Without these systems, mass production could be tricky to accomplish. However, the production of PCBs via the utilization of ICS can be a complicated task to accomplish. However, Rayming can make this possible through high-tech gadgets and highly skilled technicians. Therefore, if you have a project requiring such services, Rayming might help you.